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Advisory Opinion to Attorney General

Supreme Court of Florida

January 16, 2020

ADVISORY OPINION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL RE: CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT TO VOTE IN FLORIDA ELECTIONS.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED.

          Original Proceedings - Advisory Opinion - Attorney General

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Amit Agarwal, Solicitor General, and John Guard, Chief Deputy Solicitor General, Tallahassee, Florida, for Petitioner

          James A. McKee, Tallahassee, Florida, and W. Bradley Russell of Foley & Lardner, LLP, Jacksonville, Florida, for Interested Party, Florida Citizen Voters

          PER CURIAM.

         The Attorney General of Florida has requested this Court's opinion as to the validity of an initiative petition circulated pursuant to article XI, section 3 of the Florida Constitution. We have jurisdiction. See art. IV, § 10; art. V, § 3(b)(10), Fla. Const. We approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot.

         BACKGROUND

         On July 15, 2019, the Attorney General petitioned this Court for an advisory opinion regarding the validity of an initiative petition sponsored by Florida Citizen Voters (the Sponsor) and titled "Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections." Namely, the Attorney General asks whether the proposed amendment complies with the single-subject requirement of article XI, section 3 of the Florida Constitution, and whether the ballot title and summary of the proposed amendment comply with the clarity requirements of section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes (2019). We invited briefing from interested parties regarding the validity of the initiative petition. We received one brief, from the Sponsor, arguing in favor of the proposed amendment. And we received no briefs in opposition to the proposed amendment. On October 21, 2019, we dispensed with oral argument.

         The full text of the proposed amendment, which would amend article VI, section 2 of the Florida Constitution, provides:

ARTICLE VI. Section 2. Electors.
Every citizen Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.[1]

         The ballot title for the proposed amendment is: "Citizenship Requirement to Vote in Florida Elections." And the ballot summary states:

This amendment provides that only United States Citizens who are at least eighteen years of age, a permanent resident of Florida, and registered to vote, as provided by law, shall ...

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